Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Advice for Sketching

So... advice.

I don't consider myself an "expert" when it comes to drawing, so I don't know how valid my "advice" can be. But, I'm currently taking a class from Ryan Woodward right now and we just had midterm interviews today in which he evaluated our sketchbooks and gesture drawings.

Anyways, the advice: Draw more FAIL drawings. Sounds weird, right? No, really. FAIL drawings. According to Ryan, drawings in which you fail are more valuable then several sketchbooks full of "pretty" drawings. Want to know why?

Failure means you're learning!

And learning is fantastic!

And one of the BEST ways to get failed/learning drawings is to draw from life. I used to take this as more and more figure drawing. While figure drawing is SUPER important, it's still "fake life." Someone posing for you. The best way to learn how to draw life is to draw from it. That means not being afraid to get out into the world. Go on a hike. Go to the mall. Go to a museum. Go skydiving. Get INSPIRED and draw from that. Drawing from your head can only get you so far. Drawing from life gives you new ideas and learning. And didn't I mention that learning is, well, important?

These were all things that I knew, but never really understood. I never really fully appreciated how constructive and helpful "failed" drawings can be. So, if you start seeing some failed drawings, you'll know why they're there!

I hope you've gained some insight into this as well!

EDIT: If you want to see some great examples of life drawings, take a gander at Glen Keane's beautiful work. His figure drawings and gestures are gorgeous, as well. All of his drawings, life, figure, etc., have some aspect of life and emotion. And they're all so simply done, with little or no detail to create an idea of detail. I tell you, the man is gifted. So take a look and get inspired!


  1. Nice post, Joy! I enjoyed that. I always wondered why those stinky drawings are there! Now I only wonder why I'm not in the program, if stinky drawings mean that I'm learning. . .

  2. Yeah. Good post. That's basically what Ryan told me as well. Your sketchbook isn't for good impressive drawings. Your sketchbook is for experimenting and learning. He explained that when you draw from life you are acquiring new knowledge, but when you draw from your head you are just using old knowledge, so you don't improve as much. You always want to be learning new stuff, not just relying on stuff you already know.

  3. That's really good advice!